Venezuela remains one of Guyana’s biggest rice buyers, despite no PetroCaribe deal

Last Updated on Tuesday, 7 January 2020, 6:30 by Writer

The Guyana Rice Development Board, Cowan Street, Kingston, Georgetown.

Venezuela is Guyana’s biggest rice market, accounting for 34 percent or 177,682 tonnes of all that grain exported to several Latin American countries the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) said in a statement.

This means that despite Venezuela stopping the rice for oil PetroCaribe agreement with Guyana in 2016, a number of private exporters are still selling rice to that neighbouring Spanish-speaking country.

Latest figures show that Guyanese rice exporters earned US$227 million in exports to more than 35 countries last year. The GRDB says that figure represents a 20 percent increase in export earnings more than the US$186 million that was earned last year.

Coming second to Venezuela was Portugal which bought just over 60,000 tonnes of rice or 12 percent of all exports of the grain. Other main importers of Guyana’s rice were Cuba, Columbia, Honduras and Panama. 

Looking at the Caricom market, the GRDB said almost 69,956 tonnes of rice or 13 percent valued at US$35 million were exported in 2019. Of this figure, Jamaica imported 32,743 tonnes and Trinidad 25,417 tonnes. The GRDB says Guyana exported rice to ten Caricom countries, namely, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. 

As it relates to export by product, the GRDB says white rice was the largest export earner, accounting for 51 percent of the total amount of rice exported in 2019. That earned more than US$128 million. Other products exported were parboiled rice, cargo rice, paddy and bran. 

The GRDB says 214,190 tonnes of rice (41%) were shipped to the European Union in 2019, compared with 146,092 tonnes shipped in 2018, an increase of 47%. Main importing countries were Portugal, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain. 

The GRDB says Guyana produced more than one million tonnes of paddy for 2019, making it the second highest production year for rice in Guyana. 

With annual average yields increasing steadily and closing 2019 at almost 6 tonnes per hectare, production is expected to continue to increase in the coming year.